Ringo Kid's Objections to the Philosophy Forum Guidelines

  • #1
Tom Mattson
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Ringo Kid said:
I already have...

...perhaps you would like appendices and bibliographies with footnotes attached too so you can peer review it

do your own homework...
...evidence of karma from a reputable source ???

that's quite the sense of humour you have there hypno
When a Moderator deletes your post, that is not a cue for you to re-post the same comment. The policies of Physics Forum are not up for debate here. If you want to debate them, then you can post a thread in the Feedback forum and we will address you complaint. You can either meet the guidelines, or you can stop posting here. It's just that simple.

Please review the policy of the Philosophy section here:

Philosophy Forums Guidelines
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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It wasn't the same comment and why was it deleted anyway ???
 
  • #3
Tom Mattson
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Ringo Kid said:
It wasn't the same comment
It was close enough.

and why was it deleted anyway ???
Please read the Philosophy Forum Guidelines, and then read Hypnagogue's comment again. It should not be difficult to figure out why your post was deleted.

hypnagogue said:
Please support any claims you have about Karma is supposed to be or do with evidence from a reputable source. We all have some idea of what is meant by the term, but I don't trust generic concepts to faithfully capture the intended meaning of the word in its original context.
 
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  • #4
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  • #5
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fair enough Tom

but the post still begs the question of what is deemed evidence from a reputable source regarding karma ???

Karma is not like physics. You can't quantify it with empirical data and the evidence is mostly subjective.


It is essentially a subjective call on your part to what degree a philosophy post needs to be fleshed out before meaningful discussion can take place

I made a subjective call that was then open for debate. If hypno felt i was wrong then the onus lies with him to prove it with quotes as evidence from reputable sources or whatever so that meaningful discussion can take place.

There is no ambiguity in what i posted or key terms that need defining it should therefore be a simple task to refute without the heavy handed moderating or censorship.
 
  • #6
Maybe Tom you should...

Maybe Tom you should put into practice, That which you expect of other poster?

Take this post of yours

Quote:
Originally Posted by h8ter
The universe CAN be static. Anything is possible.
You can't just make any proposal you like under the banner, "Anything is possible". That isn't science. One has to look at experimental evidence to look for what is really happening. And the evidence says that gravity is an attractive force (surprise, surprise). Since all masses in the universe are attracted to all other masses, there cannot be static equilibrium.
Well Tom, take you own advice "look for what is really happening" as almost all the non-local masses in the universe are moving away from us (and accelerating), what proof are you quoting for you claim that "all masses in the universe are attracted to all other masses"

Twistedseer
 
  • #7
hypnagogue
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RingoKid said:
but the post still begs the question of what is deemed evidence from a reputable source regarding karma ???

Karma is not like physics. You can't quantify it with empirical data and the evidence is mostly subjective.
It seems you were thrown off by my use of the word 'evidence.' Of course I don't expect you to prove that karma actually exists in nature. What I do expect is that we honor the intended or accepted meaning of the word, just as in one of the physics forums we would use the word 'energy' according to how it is defined in physics as opposed to its colloquial usage.

Of course, any use of the word 'karma' will not be as precise as that of 'energy' in physics, but as a philosophical concept you can bet it will be more precise than the common understanding of the term. It's clear in the thread that the precise notion of how karma is supposed to work is going to make a difference in how the original question is answered, and it's also clear in the thread that different posters are operating under different, and possibly (probably) wrong, interpretations. Therefore, we should consult a reputable source that can provide us with information about how karma is supposed to operate according to those who created the concept, and this information should be sufficiently detailed such that it can help us answer the thread's opening question.

I hope you see that this is not an unreasonable request. If anything, it is the minimal request needed for productive discussion of the topic to take place.

It is essentially a subjective call on your part to what degree a philosophy post needs to be fleshed out before meaningful discussion can take place
Let me finish that paragraph for you: But remember, it is also a subjective call on the mentors' part to decide what constitutes a well-motivated question or argument and what does not, so it is best to err on the side of caution. Any post that is deemed to be too insubstantial to meet this criterion may be moved, locked, or deleted at the mentors' discretion.

I made a subjective call that was then open for debate. If hypno felt i was wrong then the onus lies with him to prove it with quotes as evidence from reputable sources or whatever so that meaningful discussion can take place.
You did make a subjective call, but I deemed that what you (and the other posters) provided was not enough. Therefore, the onus falls on you to substantiate your own claims. I never said you were 'wrong,' only that you (and the other posters) needed to back up your claims. Find a trustworthy source that defines / explains what karma is, and show how that definition or explanation supports what you were saying.

There is no ambiguity in what i posted or key terms that need defining it should therefore be a simple task to refute without the heavy handed moderating or censorship.
I am not trying to refute anything; I am trying to get the conversation on the right track. As for key terms, "karma" is a blatantly obvious key term in this thread that needs defining.
 
  • #8
subjective!

But remember, it is also a subjective call on the mentors' part to decide what constitutes a well-motivated question or argument and what does not,
Do you really think its up to mentors to decide constitutes a "well-motivated question or argument"... prevent "rubbish" being posted yes, but decide on people's motivation thats a bit to "1984"

so it is best to err on the side of caution. Any post that is deemed to be too insubstantial to meet this criterion may be moved, locked, or deleted at the mentors' discretion.
How is that a cautious approach?

its like shooting a car owner because one day he/she may kill a pedestrian

Twistedseer
 
  • #9
hypnagogue
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Twistedseer said:
Do you really think its up to mentors to decide constitutes a "well-motivated question or argument"... prevent "rubbish" being posted yes, but decide on people's motivation thats a bit to "1984"
'Well-motivated' here just means well supported. In other words, back your arguments up with sufficient logic and evidence.

How is that a cautious approach?

its like shooting a car owner because one day he/she may kill a pedestrian
Again, 'to err on the side of caution' here just means it's better to go into more detail than less when supporting an argument. This should be clear from context.
 
  • #10
'Well-motivated' here just means well supported. In other words, back your arguments up with sufficient logic and evidence.
Like I said to "1984", Its the same as saying prove everything you post, you really want Physicsforums to descend into who can find the best "back-up" link wars...

Again, 'to err on the side of caution' here just means it's better to go into more detail than less when supporting an argument. This should be clear from context.
Not really, it looks to me that your stating moderators will judge if a post is "substantial", based on their opinion... yes I would agree that you don't want posts to descend into flame wars, but controlling based on opinion??

"Sledgehammer to crack a nut" comes to mind.

Twistedseer
 
  • #11
hypnagogue
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Twistedseer said:
Like I said to "1984", Its the same as saying prove everything you post, you really want Physicsforums to descend into who can find the best "back-up" link wars...
The policy was worded in a general and open ended way, by design, in order to avoid this situation. We don't want people writing bibliographies for everything they post. What we do want is to avoid hosting bald assertion, flimsy arguments, and overly speculative arguments; in other words, we wish to host discussion of some quality rather than any sort of discussion at all.

Nowhere in the policy is it stated that posters are required to prove anything. What posters are required to do is provide sufficient support for their ideas. To take an obvious example, one may not be able to prove that free will exists or not, but at the very least one should try to provide cogent arguments for one's position rather than simply stating it, or stating it on weak grounds.

Not really, it looks to me that your stating moderators will judge if a post is "substantial", based on their opinion... yes I would agree that you don't want posts to descend into flame wars, but controlling based on opinion??
Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules for what is and what is not a well substantiated argument. We can't write an algorithm that automatically detects how substantiated an argument is. Compounding this, judging how well an argument is made is obviously even more difficult and nebulous a process in philosophy than in science. For this reason, the most reasonable course of action is to allow forum moderators to use their own judgments.

'Controlling based on opinion' is just a bad caricature of this process. What we are trying to do is maintain the integrity of the discussions. We want our science forums to contain a level of discourse that honors the basic intentions and standards of science, and we hold the same attitude towards the philosophy forums. A flawed argument will be recognized and corrected in the science forums, and an irretrievably bad or insubstantial one will be treated more severely; the same is true in the philosophy forums.

I do not believe that any of the mentors have carried out the philosophy forums guidelines out of hand. I have mostly used them as grounds for merely asking posters to clarify key points in their arguments, especially when those key points have not been developed sufficiently enough in order to answer an issue one way or another, or when different posters arrive at different conclusions based on different (but unrecognized) interpretations of the same concept. For example, in the karma thread, Ringo Kid employs a notion of karma that is different from other posters in such a way that he comes to different conclusions about the issue at hand. Thus, it is only in the interest of good, productive discussion that the meaning of the word be explicitly stated and agreed upon. The few threads that actually get locked or deleted suffer from varying combinations of bald assertion and confused logic to the extent that they do not provide enough of a basis for the level of discussion that we wish to host at Physics Forums.

In essence, we wish to host discussion of at least some level of quality in all of our academically oriented forums. It is inevitable that some think we are too strict and others think we are too lenient, but we try to enforce our vision in the best and fairest way possible, as I tried to explain above. If you like our commitment to quality, great; if you don't, I'm sorry, but that's just how it is here. There's nothing much more to be said.
 
  • #12
Tom Mattson
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Twistedseer said:
what proof are you quoting for you claim that "all masses in the universe are attracted to all other masses"
It's called "gravity".

Just because 2 masses accelerate away from each other, this doesn't imply that there is not an attractive force between the masses. It implies that there is a stronger force pointing in the opposite direction.

Honestly, if you intend to argue against the policies of Physics Forums, you're going to have to do a lot better than this. The entire staff is open to constructive criticism, and we do take feedback seriously, but it seems that all you're doing here is nitpicking. That's not a good way to get your grievance heard.
 
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  • #13
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Twistedseer said:
Like I said to "1984", Its the same as saying prove everything you post, you really want Physicsforums to descend into who can find the best "back-up" link wars...
It's not like that at all. The guidelines call for solid reasoning and strong evidence. That is not "proof"! We would be demanding proof if we insisted on flawless logic and incontrovertible evidence, but we do not insist on that. Furthermore, we don't even insist that the point of view expressed in the post be "right", only that the reasons for holding the point of view be given.

Not really, it looks to me that your stating moderators will judge if a post is "substantial", based on their opinion...
It's not based on Moderator opinion, it's based on judgement that has been tempered by training. It's not as though Mentors are just found on the street, you know. We watch members over a period of time and only then invite them to join the staff.

yes I would agree that you don't want posts to descend into flame wars, but controlling based on opinion??
Flame wars are not our only concern. There is also the issue of quality of discussion. Unless some guidelines are established and enforced, we will get frivolous, ill-founded threads that have no philosophical merit whatsoever. Since we at Physics Forums recognize that philosophy is every bit the academic discipline that math, science, and engineering are, it stands to reason that we would want the Philosophy section to be as good as possible. If we were just going to run that section haphazardly, then I would not see any point in having it here at all.

You're relatively new here, so you probably don't remember the "old days" in which topics such as "God exists, and I can prove it using relativity" were commonplace. We don't want that here anymore. It may be OK for AOL chatrooms, but it's not OK for Physics Forums.

"Sledgehammer to crack a nut" comes to mind.
OK, fine. How would you accomplish our goals?
 
  • #14
Tom Mattson
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RingoKid said:
but the post still begs the question of what is deemed evidence from a reputable source regarding karma ???

Karma is not like physics. You can't quantify it with empirical data and the evidence is mostly subjective.
See Hypnagogues response to this question. You don't have to prove it exists, you just have to start from a clearly stated position, and reason from there.

I made a subjective call that was then open for debate. If hypno felt i was wrong then the onus lies with him to prove it with quotes as evidence from reputable sources or whatever so that meaningful discussion can take place.
You've got it exactly backwards. If you make a claim, then the onus is on you to provide an argument in support of it. And merely saying, "I am my own source" is woefully insufficient. Indeed, that is exactly the opposite of what is needed "so that meaningful discussion can take place". Nothing is less conducive to discussion than the attitude of "I'm right because I say so". But that's the attitude you took on.

Furthermore, neither Hypangogue nor I think that you are "wrong" because of your point of view. We think that you are "wrong" because of the way in which you justify it (or in this case, the way in which you don't justify it).

There is no ambiguity in what i posted or key terms that need defining it should therefore be a simple task to refute without the heavy handed moderating or censorship.
Again, we aren't interested in refuting you. We're interested in quality discussion taking place. And we will continue to delete posts that aren't deemed to be up to snuff. And no, this is not done in a whimsical manner. There's an entire staff here, and very often posts are discussed by the entire staff in the Mentor's Private Forum before action is taken.
 
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hypnagogue said:
Please support any claims you have about Karma is supposed to be or do with evidence from a reputable source. We all have some idea of what is meant by the term, but I don't trust generic concepts to faithfully capture the intended meaning of the word in its original context.
Note the use of the term evidence as in requiring a burden of proof. Now show me one reputable source for karma that isn't a subjective interpretation and tell me in your opinion why it is reputable ???...remembering we are not alllowed to have unsubstantiated personal opinions. It's like this place is a breeding ground for BORG.

Tom Mattson said:
You don't have to prove it exists, you just have to start from a clearly stated position, and reason from there.
In my first response I clearly stated in basic terms what karma was and reasoned from there. Please note that it was ME who did the reasoning not some wisened chinese sage that has been dead for 2400 years or some new age alien channelling ex college professor looking to scam some free bucks from the gullible.

You can either accept my opinion, discard it or disprove it but I'm not going to spoon feed anybody or do their homework for them just to justify my position cos I just don't play that way. I'm not searching and I'm not looking for answers, I have them and they work for me. I really am my own authority and i think everyone should be.

But anyway, all I see happening is that quality discussion is being stifled by heavy handed moderating causing posters to be apprehensive about posting their opinions on anything. Academics with an elitist attitude to learning and a percieved monopoly on knowledge, truth and reality and an inflated sense of their own self worth are the problem, not me.
 
  • #16
Tom Mattson
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RingoKid said:
Note the use of the term evidence as in requiring a burden of proof. Now show me one reputable source for karma that isn't a subjective interpretation and tell me in your opinion why it is reputable ???...remembering we are not alllowed to have unsubstantiated personal opinions.
Without getting into the question, "what is karma?", I think it's pretty clear that a source is reputable if it is faithful to the concept of karma as it was developed by the Asian philosophies from which it arose.

It's like this place is a breeding ground for BORG.
No, it's a breeding ground for intelligent discussions.

In my first response I clearly stated in basic terms what karma was and reasoned from there. Please note that it was ME who did the reasoning not some wisened chinese sage that has been dead for 2400 years or some new age alien channelling ex college professor looking to scam some free bucks from the gullible.
Right, and then Hypangogue went to ask you why we should accept your definition and your reasons. It's clearly a good question, because the original post posed the question on the impact of karma on the problem of evil. His question goes to the relevancy of your post to the thread.

In any case, your first response was not deleted. So what's the problem?

You can either accept my opinion, discard it or disprove it but I'm not going to spoon feed anybody or do their homework for them just to justify my position cos I just don't play that way.
Too bad. Philosophers make their points via argumentation. That means that you make your case, and you justify your position. If you don't want to do that, then you're going to find that a lot of your posts get deleted. Merely spouting off your personal opinion will not do.

I'm not searching and I'm not looking for answers, I have them and they work for me. I really am my own authority and i think everyone should be.
Good for you. But to qualify as philosophy, you have to explain why one should accept your answers.

But anyway, all I see happening is that quality discussion is being stifled by heavy handed moderating causing posters to be apprehensive about posting their opinions on anything.
We clearly have different ideas on what "quality discussion" and "heavy handed moderating" mean.

As to the former, I think that "quality discussion" is discussion that leads all parties involved to new insights. But there is simply no insight to be gained from simply reading your opinion and being told that the onus is on me to disprove it.

As to the latter, all Hypnagogue did was ask you to back up what you said. It's a perfectly reasonable question in a philosophy forum. You'd be asked to do the same thing in a philosophy classroom.

And there is no need to feel apprehensive (I seriously doubt most posters with a genuine interest in and ability for real philosophy would feel 'apprehensive'). All you have to do is make your case, and not give a lame cop out when you are asked to justify it.

Academics with an elitist attitude to learning and a percieved monopoly on knowledge, truth and reality and an inflated sense of their own self worth are the problem, not me.
You have a lousy attitude. The philosophy section of Physics Forums exists so that people can do and discuss philosophy. If you don't like it, then you can go and play somewhere else.
 
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  • #17
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I'm sorry Tom but I just don't place much reliance on books and the written word as justification for philosophy.

Everyone has one but just cos they can't justify it with quotes from famous dead guys or write a thesis on it doesn't make espousing one's personal truth as philosophy any less valid or relevent.

So I've got a lousy attitude towards academics who think they know better just cos they may have studied some worthless dead guys rantings for 7 years and now has some letters after their name but in reality can only get a job flipping burgers..BIG DEAL

I may not know what ism or schism my philosophy belongs in but the last thing anyone needs is another religion or branch of philosophy. It's all about unification isn't it ???

I am the unification of my ancestors constantly evolving philosophy and as a polynesian I embody the oral traditions of my culture and therein lies the fundamental difference between us. The written word has served to instil a deep mistrust of it through flawed interpretations of scripture, treaties, laws and institutions that in essence are still alien and foreign to us.

Real philosophy as determined by your opinion doesn't mean much to me. I am no philosopher nor do i want to be. I'm just some guy with an open mind, a free will a few ideas and looking for a place to discuss them. If my methods are not compatible to your cultural upbringing get used to it and adapt cos not everyone wants to think and act like you or should be forced to conform to your standards of argumentation.

Then again maybe only asians should discuss karma
 
  • #18
Hurkyl
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Pfft, since it's already generated a response, I'll repost my comment.


I'm not going to spoon feed anybody or do their homework for them just to justify my position cos I just don't play that way.
Then that's reason enough to lock your threads. This is a discussion forum, not a dogma forum or a preaching forum. You're the one expecting to be treated as an oracle of truth, and you're calling us elite?
 
  • #19
Tom Mattson
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RingoKid said:
I'm sorry Tom but I just don't place much reliance on books and the written word as justification for philosophy.

Everyone has one but just cos they can't justify it with quotes from famous dead guys or write a thesis on it doesn't make espousing one's personal truth as philosophy any less valid or relevent.
Justification needn't come from books, nor from quotes. Most premises are justified from experience, not a general feeling of being correct. In this case, the justification that is called for is an argument or source that makes the case that your conception of karma is relevant to the question at hand. It's not that difficult, and honestly I cannot see any good reason for you making such a big deal about answering the request.

So I've got a lousy attitude towards academics who think they know better just cos they may have studied some worthless dead guys rantings for 7 years and now has some letters after their name but in reality can only get a job flipping burgers..BIG DEAL
So, that's your reason for why we should have to accept your worthless rantings???

And do you have any idea of how ignorant and stupid it sounds when one writes something off as "worthless", without having studied it?

I may not know what ism or schism my philosophy belongs in but the last thing anyone needs is another religion or branch of philosophy. It's all about unification isn't it ???
If all I have to go on is your posts, then it is perfectly clear that you do not have a philosophy at all.

I am the unification of my ancestors constantly evolving philosophy and as a polynesian I embody the oral traditions of my culture and therein lies the fundamental difference between us. The written word has served to instil a deep mistrust of it through flawed interpretations of scripture, treaties, laws and institutions that in essence are still alien and foreign to us.
In case you hadn't noticed, all communication at Physics Forums is via the written word. You'll have to get over your mistrust of it and learn to embrace it if you want to get anywhere here.

Real philosophy as determined by your opinion doesn't mean much to me. I am no philosopher nor do i want to be.
It's not "my opinion". I'm talking about philosophy as it is taught and practiced by philosophers.

I'm just some guy with an open mind, a free will a few ideas and looking for a place to discuss them.
I fail to see how the sort of religious pontification you espouse is conducive to discussion at all. You state your opinion, declare yourself correct, and then tell others that the onus is on them to disprove you. This is an indicator that you are extremely closed minded. You even said as much yourself, when you declared that you aren't looking for answers because you already have them.

I am going to tell you this for the last time: We do not host that sort of thing here. It is not philosophy, and it is utterly useless in terms of conveying new insights to anyone.

If my methods are not compatible to your cultural upbringing
*cough cough*

Your 'methods'? RingoKid, you don't have any methods! That's what I'm trying to tell you. Simply stating your opinion and declaring it correct is not a 'method'.

get used to it and adapt cos not everyone wants to think and act like you or should be forced to conform to your standards of argumentation.
Get this straight: We set the posting guidelines here, not you. And our guidelines state that in the philosophy section, arguments are to be presented with justification, with a view to stimulating discussion.

Either get used to it and adapt, or take a hike.
 
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  • #20
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the dead guys are worthless as they no longer have the right of reply and given the chance I 'm betting ther'd be a few philosohers who would realise what a load of crap their rantings were. Their rantings may have some value but that is entirely subjective again.

closed minded ??? not at all If i am proven wrong I will gladly acknowledge and apologise, assimiliate the information and redefine my truth and reality. I have my answers and they are mine, yours may be different. All I'm saying is acknowledge the fact that there are no right answers in philosophy except your own and that those answers may not come form a book or an academic institution.

How do you know you are right if your perception of truth and reality is merely your stated opinion ???

I embrace the written word as i have to and i'm not really interested in getting anywhere here, I mean where is there to get ???

You don't get that your philosophy and learning of it is based on a cultural bias and doesn't take into account cultures that learn by other means.

Religious pontification is a great method for inspiring discussion look at what we are doing here or look at the greats from the past and see what they inspired . My methods may not be yours but they are mine and they do work if only for me. You can't tell me that won't inspire others to think freely and research the findings without the constraints of formal education and thus elicit free and open discussions.

I justify my arguments based on what i have learnt by thinking, feeling, observation and experience. How can I then justify that by quoting evidence from a reputable source. There is no substitute for experience or observation.

Everyone has a philosophy

If a philosophy is A system of values by which one lives then everyone has one. I'm stating mine with authority and i invite discussion as to whether it has merit. Prove me wrong and provide evidence form a reputable source.

Shoot the messenger if you must but the message still stands. Try shooting that down instead, if you can.

accept nothing as fact
question everything
determine your own truth
define your own reality
 
  • #21
ZapperZ
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So Tom, are you still certain we shouldn't get rid of the Philosophy section?

:)

<runs and hides>

Zz.
 
  • #22
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ZapperZ said:
So Tom, are you still certain we shouldn't get rid of the Philosophy section?

:)

<runs and hides>

Zz.
But what about those of us who need the wisdoms of philospphy and metaphysics to better understand pure science. Will you take away this unique and precious opportunity because of one person who has no respect for anyone including himself?
I beg you to keep the Philosophy section open. For the rest of us who appreciate your considering it even remotely connected to physics in the first place.
Yours
Suzanne Elizabeth Seitz
 
  • #23
ZapperZ
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Shoshana said:
But what about those of us who need the wisdoms of philospphy and metaphysics to better understand pure science. Will you take away this unique and precious opportunity because of one person who has no respect for anyone including himself?
I beg you to keep the Philosophy section open. For the rest of us who appreciate your considering it even remotely connected to physics in the first place.
Yours
Suzanne Elizabeth Seitz
OK, first of all, I said that in jest. I think I am entirely in the minority with regards to this, so I have no doubt that the Philosophy section is here to stay.

However, on a separate issue, you mentioned the dreaded word of "metaphysics". I seriously hate to think that you believe "metaphysics" can help you better understand "pure science". Whenever someone tells me they find physics fascinating based on what they read from "The Tao of Physics", I cringe. Mystical bastardization of physics is no more physics than a polygraph is to lie-detection. You may think there is a connection, but there isn't!

Zz.
 
  • #24
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ZapperZ said:
OK, first of all, I said that in jest. I think I am entirely in the minority with regards to this, so I have no doubt that the Philosophy section is here to stay.

However, on a separate issue, you mentioned the dreaded word of "metaphysics". I seriously hate to think that you believe "metaphysics" can help you better understand "pure science". Whenever someone tells me they find physics fascinating based on what they read from "The Tao of Physics", I cringe. Mystical bastardization of physics is no more physics than a polygraph is to lie-detection. You may think there is a connection, but there isn't!

Zz.
Thank you, I have never read this book you mentioned and I really have no time to read it as I am busy trying to get a physics education. I am even sorry I took the time to respond to your post which I guess , did not realize was a joke. I personally would not joke about the subject that you found so funny.
Respectfully,
S
 
  • #25
Les Sleeth
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ZapperZ said:
However, on a separate issue, you mentioned the dreaded word of "metaphysics". I seriously hate to think that you believe "metaphysics" can help you better understand "pure science".
Believe it or not, there are metaphysical issues involved in every sort of mental discipline, including science. The term "metaphysicial" refers to the ultimate nature of reality. Say, for instance, you believe existence rests on a purely physical foundation, and so every variety of thing we see in our universe has emerged from that foundation. Physical principles "work," you might say, because they reflect how reality is at its foundation. Well that is metaphysics because you've offered an opinion about the underlying/overriding reality that determines how things function in our manifest universe.

Of course, not everyone would agree that the foundation of reality is purely physical, and so that's how some of the complicated metaphysical debates get going. Not all non-physicalistic dissenters are supernaturalists, or think established physical principles need the concept of God to be understood. There are plenty of people who think, however, that physics alone can't account for everything we see in the universe. Right now, for example, a big issue is consciousness, specifically the self-aware aspect of consciousness, which doesn't seem explainable solely by physical principles. If it can't be, then the metaphysical foundation will have to include whatever is responsible for consciousness.

Now maybe it gives you a headache to think about such things. Some people just want to understand the mechanics of reality they can observe and work with, and don't want to look past that. Some others of us, while not wishing to reject or diminish the significance of understanding physicalness, think life is more interesting than the mechanics which help establish it.


ZapperZ said:
Whenever someone tells me they find physics fascinating based on what they read from "The Tao of Physics", I cringe. Mystical bastardization of physics is no more physics than a polygraph is to lie-detection. You may think there is a connection, but there isn't!
I'd respectfully suggest that neither you nor anyone else knows exactly what is ultimately behind physics. Unless you have discovered the secret of existence, then to say "You may think there is a connection, but there isn't" is no different than someone who states they know God created the universe in seven days. They don't know that, and you don't know there is no connection either. Maybe you don't need to know metaphysics to do "pure" science, but that is a different issue from what is true and if there is value in thinking about such things.

Say a person spends his whole life mastering the piano. He never watches TV, or reads anything but music, knows no history, eats nothing but hotdogs, never had a girlfriend, never been to the movies . . . Then you come along and talk about gourmet cooking, or a National Geographic Explorer special you saw on TV, or how you enjoy love making, or a great film classic, or . . . To everything you say his response is, "only piano playing has any meaning, everything else is worthless." What would you think led to his belief? Is his view objective? Experienced? Has he looked at other things to see if there's anything to them, or does he judge everything based on what HE likes, what HIS tastes are, what HE has accomplished? Is his belief concerning the worthlessness of non-piano playing activities a statement about reality, or is it a reflection of his own narrowness?

As far as I can see, there is no reason why a person can't master physics and also explore philosophy. They are not competitors, they are perfect companions if you ask me. Physics helps to ground the free thinker, and philosophy can help keep the physicalist from becoming a dull boy. :smile:
 
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